Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart, #104 review

Publication date: 20 April 2021

Divided by their order. United by their vengeance.

Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom – and vengeance.

Jazmyne is the Queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.

Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But power is intoxicating, revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain – except the lengths they will go to win this game.

This Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut about two enemy witches who must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy has the twisted cat-and-mouse of Killing Eve with the richly imagined fantasy world of Furyborn and Ember in the Ashes.

The Obeh with lies in her eyes and poison in her heart.
The Alumbrar, foolish with desperation.
The Zesian with ambition big enough to rival the two witches’.

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Right off the first page, the book didn’t seem like a debut novel! It was rich with culture and you can already there are layers of world-building set in the foundation. Inspired by the author’s Jamaican heritage, Witches Steeped in Gold stars two witch heirs raised in opposite enemy camps – Iraya Adair and Jazmyne Cariot form a deadly alliance to take down a common, greater evil and save their island.

The lore of the world-building intricate, making it a series to rival Throne of Glass. It is not suitable for a reader beginning to read fantasy. The pacing is on the slower side due to the writing of Ciannon Smart paving the complexity of the world (witches clans, language, culture, textile designs). It is heavily political and the schemes have unexpected outcomes. The characters are morally grey, making it hard to know who to trust. Which only adds the fun of journeying with our three picklings from diverse clans. It is in two POVs – Iraya Adair (Obeh) and Jazmyne Cariot (Alumbrar). I personally didn’t care for the romance, it felt too much like Love At First Sight for me.

With a hint of “The Hunger Games” and “Children of Blood and Bone”, be prepared to be dazzled away by this complex high fantasy world written by debut author – Ciannon Smart.

Readers who love “An Ember in the Ashes”, “Raybearer”, “Children of Blood and Bone” will find themselves steeped deep in this Jamaican tale. Witches Steeped in Gold will be available in all good bookstores starting 20th April 2021. Thank you @definitely.books for the ARC!

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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